Since COVID-19 disrupted the meat supply chain in the spring, there has been a growing consensus between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill that the meat processing industry needs more competition, but that comes with a few barriers.
A key senator involved in developing the Republican coronavirus relief package for farmers defended the broad authority it gives to USDA to spend $20 billion in farm aid, but he said the Trump administration likely will need to provide assurances about how the money will be spent.
As coronavirus cases rise across the country, ag economists expect producers could face headwinds such as volatility and uncertainty in demand for their products for the remainder of the year and into 2021.
House Democrats released a massive new coronavirus relief bill that would provide $16.5 billion in additional direct payments to farmers and authorize USDA to compensate producers who have to dispose of livestock and poultry that can’t be sold because of processing disruptions.
Shutting down, slowing processing line speeds, and reducing work hours is becoming a reality for livestock processors as more workers contract COVID-19, and ag economists argue timing of closures in the coming weeks is everything.
The American Farm Bureau Federation delivers the Trump administration a detailed list of requests to swiftly use its authority under the $2 trillion economic stimulus package to rescue “all sectors of agriculture” from the twin blows of plunging commodity prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.